How to shift a few extra lbs as we come out of lockdown

-May 18, Jenny Paul , Health -

If you’ve been baking cakes, drinking wine and generally avoiding all those at home workouts everyone seems to be doing during the past two months in lockdown then you’re not alone! If you want to fit back into your office wear once we finally fold away the loungewear we wore in online meetings for good then we’ve got some simple, pain free tips on how to do it. 

We can all fall victim to over indulgence and letting our exercise regimes slip from time to time,  but if you feel like you’re drifting toward a consistently unhealthy lifestyle then it’s time to make a change. Excess body fat can cause high blood pressure and cholesterol and drive you towards potentially life threatening diseases. 

Before you spiral into a panic though, there is good news. You can drop fat from your body in a relatively short space of time and in a healthy manner too. 

Not only that but these changes are so manageable you’ll be able to keep up the good work and keep burning calories long after you’ve kicked that 3Kg of fat to the curb.

Related: The healthy diet of the future focuses on not just what you eat but when you eat

Strength train

Don’t be afraid to add weight to your frame, so long as it’s in muscle form, not fat. Strength training can help you build muscle and tone your body. Just adding two to three sessions to your weekly regime using light weights or even your own body weight will go a long way to a leaner physique. Muscle burns more calories than fat which is why muscular people often have a faster metabolism. After a strength training workout you also continue to expend energy even when you’re resting, so you get a workout, after a workout. 

Portion control

Even if you’re eating nutritious, healthy food, if you’re overloading on your portions you’re going to gain weight. 

If you’re unsure of portion sizes here is a general rule of thumb. 

  • One portion of meat, beans, eggs, fish or dairy is roughly the size and thickness of your palm.
  • One portion of fruit or vegetables would be the size of your closed fist.
  • One portion of carbohydrate is a filled cupped hand. 

A balanced meal for a man would be two portions of each per meal and for women it’s one portion. 

Calorie control

It makes perfect sense that if you eat more calories than you expend you’re going to gain weight. Energy in Vs Energy out! While we wouldn’t suggest you become an obsessive calorie counter, it’s also important to remember that as you lose muscle mass you don’t need as many calories either.  0.5 kilos of muscle burns nine times the amount that 0.5 kilos of fat does. So while you’re working on building up your muscles and losing body fat, it’s worth keeping in mind. 

Keep a food diary

In the beginning while you’re getting to grips with portion and calorie control it’s a good idea to have a food diary. Most of us are pretty good at conveniently forgetting the late afternoon cookie we had or omitting the sugary teas from our memory. So vow to be honest with yourself and write down everything you eat in a day and it may become glaringly obvious where you’re going wrong. 

Sleep

Your entire body needs rest and relaxation to repair, including the muscle you’re working so hard to build up. Not only that but you burn calories while you sleep. A 70kg person will burn roughly 420 calories during the course of seven hours of sleep. 

If ever there was a reason to hit the hay and snuggle up under the covers after a long, healthy and active day, it’s this. 

Related: Why sleeping more is the key to sustainable weight loss

Avoid alcohol

Your nightly tipple might help you unwind at the end of the day but it’s doing nothing for your hips, thighs and belly. Alcohol is empty calories, often loaded with sugar. While we are all for moderation, if you’re on a mission to lose fat from your figure, curbing the beer and wine will make a monumental difference to your mind and your body.

HIIT training

You don’t even have to spend hours at the gym to shift fat and get in shape. HIIT training – High Intensity Interval Training – is short bursts of intense exercise followed by a brief rest and these types of training regimes have been shown to give your metabolism a mega boost. 

There are a ton of 20-30 minute HIIT workouts you can even do from home in one go, or broken up throughout the day. 

If you’re looking for healthy recipes to help you on your weight loss journey then try these delicious 5-minute ant-inflammatory tacos or follow this expert’s guide to a healthy breakfast.

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